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The Northern Irishman praises Magpies manager Alan Pardew for showing faith in him and underlines his desire to get back to his best after a difficult period on the sidelines

Newcastle winger Shane Ferguson is hoping to force himself into Alan Pardew's team on a permanent basis after an injury-hit build-up to the new Premier League campaign.

The Northern Irishman missed the entirety of the Magpies' pre-season build-up through a series of niggles but has since made four top-flight appearances, now hoping to continue that run by catching up to his team-mates' fitness levels.

"I was injured at the start of pre-season and it's hard to get back," Ferguson told the Shields Gazette.

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"Pre-season's a bad time to get injured – you have to catch up with everyone. Thankfully, I'm getting fitter and stronger. I'm in the gym every day doing stuff with the fitness coaches. I just have to keep working hard now.

"That's what the manager wants me to do – stay fit and keep working hard in the gym.

"I'm doing all the extra stuff and I've just got to make an impact whenever I get the chance."

The Derry-born attacker has notched three assists in all competitions so far and says that he is keen to carry on repaying manager Pardew's confidence in him.

"The manager's got a lot of faith in me and I appreciate that loads," Ferguson added. "It's great he plays a lot of youngsters – he's got a lot of faith in the young lads.

"All the lads can show what they can do [in the Europa League] and it's great to see."